Somerset Deputy Lieutenant and this year’s High Sheriff, Robert Drewett, was taken on a tour of the former Royal Forest of Exmoor this week in recognition of two major woodland projects being undertaken by Exmoor National Park Authority as part of their plans to increase woodland cover to combat climate change.
Chief Executive Officer Sarah Bryan said, “We wanted to mark the coronation year with a significant project and plans are developing well for an ambitious new woodland in Simonsbath, the village visited by Prince Charles on his most recent trip to Exmoor in 2019.”
“Calling the new woodland King’s Wood seems like the perfect answer,” continued Sarah. “Like the King, we are a nation of tree lovers and by planting more trees on Exmoor, we are working towards our commitment to increase tree cover on Exmoor from around 13.5% to at least 17% by 2050 - the amount recommended by the UK government’s independent Climate Change Committee.”
King’s Wood will be the second of two new woodland creations by the National Park Authority, which has just completed the planting of another major new woodland called Bye Wood.
Robert Drewett said “It has been a pleasure to visit the site of King’s Wood and hear about the variety of species to be planted there. It is a very fitting tribute for the coronation, and I believe very much in keeping with His Majesty the King’s passion for the natural world. I look forward to reporting on the new woodland at Simonsbath. It was also a delight to see the progress made at Bye Wood where the 13000 young trees planted last year are doing well despite the challenging weather, and to see that the ancient bluebells that have reappeared since the woodland site was cleared, are just coming into flower”.
Graeme McVittie, Senior Conservation Officer for the National Park said, “Our aim is to ensure that King’s Wood, like Bye Wood, becomes a sustainable woodland and that wherever possible we use only the best environmentally friendly practices. Acknowledging the effects that climate change is already having, and will continue to have on our environment, it has become a priority to plant a selection of trees that we are confident will thrive in the National Park. We’re including Sessile oaks, Scots pine, Silver birch and Mountain ash, all of which will grow well in a challenging and changing environment. At our Exford tree nursery, we’ve also been growing our own saplings from seeds harvested from Exmoor. This is another way of ensuring that the trees we plant are most likely to thrive on Exmoor. Other landowners are showing interest in creating new woodland too with some significant projects being developed throughout the National Park.”
“The public have been incredibly supportive with donations through our CareMoor for Exmoor Woods & Trees appeal. Not only have we had support from local businesses, we’ve also been delighted by the number of donations from individuals who have been dedicating trees in memory of loved ones or to mark a special occasion.”
“Anyone donating to our Woods & Trees appeal in mark of the coronation, will receive a specially designed certificate. We look forward to sharing news of King’s Wood and hope to be able to start planting there this winter, the traditional tree planting season,” added Graeme.
Jackie Kiberd, Volunteer Support & Partnerships Coordinator for Exmoor National Park Authority said, “The public are being encouraged to take up volunteering opportunities linked to coronation celebrations, and we’d be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to support our tree planting and other activities in the National Park. We’re extremely grateful to all our volunteers who have given up so much time to help us plant hundreds of saplings at Bye Wood over the last year and we hope others will join our efforts during the coronation year.”
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Photo: Left to right
Local Farmer Ed Greenall, CEO ENP Sarah Bryan, Senior Conservation Officer (Woodlands) Graeme McVittie, Somerset Deputy Lieutenant Robert Drewett
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